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Lyr Req: 'nation of immigrants' (NBC ed. films)

GUEST,John C. Bunnell 16 Jul 18 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,Jayne H. 16 Jan 19 - 07:56 PM
Stilly River Sage 17 Jan 19 - 11:10 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: 'nation of immigrants' (NBC ed. films)
From: GUEST,John C. Bunnell
Date: 16 Jul 18 - 11:18 AM

Google-fu (and YouTube) have entirely failed me on this one, and yet I can't believe that it's so obscure that the material is simply unfindable. Here's the story:

In grade school in the late 1960s (US, Pacific Northwest), we were shown a series of social-studies/history films produced -- if memory serves -- by NBC (possibly the news division, possibly an educational sub-unit of the news division), covering a series of time periods from (I think) the Revolutionary War right up to the then-present.

These films, being aimed at grade-school viewers, included songs; I think most of the individual films used familiar popular and folk songs relative to the period or topic of the particular film. There was, however, at least one recurring song/lyric -- I don't think it was quite a theme song, in the sense of opening and closing every movie in the way of a television episode, but definitely repeating from one to the next and setting an overall arc for the film series. Here is the fragment of lyric that I remember, which I believe would have been the end of a verse and possibly part of the refrain:

"...built this land of opportunity;
A nation of immigrants, of hard-working immigrants,
Are we."

You can see, I expect, why this has been running through my head lately; does anyone else remember those films and the song in question, and if so, know where and how to track down lyrics if not an actual recording?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'nation of immigrants' (NBC ed. films)
From: GUEST,Jayne H.
Date: 16 Jan 19 - 07:56 PM

I remember too! I am in my sixties, and I grew up in Michigan. I remember that song, and can still sing the refrain--and you've got the words mostly correct. I think. Except that I believe the exact words were:

"A nation of immigrants, a nation of immigrants
Built this land of opportunity
Descendents of immigrants, of hard-working immigrants
Are we"

I came across your comment just now because I myself have been trying to track down that song, and information about the program(s) it was from.

I remember a TV series which I believe was called "Exploring" from that time. I believe it was broadcast on Saturday afternoons, and I remember that one documentary-type episode was all about Ellis Island. It's my impression that the song was used in that episode, and was perhaps the theme song for the series from then on. Well, I could be wrong about that, but I DO remember being fascinated by the program about Ellis island, and I DO remember that song.

Like you, I've had absolutely no luck in locating the song.I've Googled everything I can think of. I'm very happy to know that someone else remembers it!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'nation of immigrants' (NBC ed. films)
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 17 Jan 19 - 11:10 AM

You might find breadcrumbs to follow if you visit the the Newseum. Alas, I think you have to go there in person, they don't have much of their collection online. Back when it first opened I heard interviews when journalists discussed being able to call up and watch episodes of decades-old programs. Google offered up this education link from the museum that I couldn't get from their home page. You'll have to poke around, but if you think those programs were aimed at a particular age group you might be able to track down a whiff of a reference.

And here is the Museum of Broadcast Communications. Another rabbit hole to traverse.


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